Janus Henderson, the merged entity comprising Janus Capital and London-based Henderson Group, wins its first AFTA thanks to its Quantum Global offering, the firm’s risk management, research, and portfolio analysis tool, which has been used by the fundamental fixed-income business since 2010 through a desktop application.
Janus Henderson risk research analyst Erin Noel says that in 2014, the team started receiving feedback from users who frequently travelled who felt that the desktop application was not convenient to use on the road, which resulted in the firm developing mobile functionality. “It was apparent that there was demand for mobile apps from analysts, portfolio managers, and to a certain extent, traders,” Noel says. “Analysts said it would be helpful to pull up information on companies or historical spreads on the fly.”
Before the app was developed, users had to access Quantum Global through virtual private networks, and required a stable internet connection—which, as anyone who has worked on the road can attest to, is not always easy. The mobile app was developed to use less data and was written using Objective C for greater responsiveness.
The Quantum Global mobile app works on iPads and iPhones, although Noel points out that a phone screen is just too small to contain all the information the app provides. He says one of the challenges the development team had to negotiate was in crunching down the screen real estate.
The app offers many of the desktop features, including portfolio tear sheets, portfolio visualizers, and research and historical charting. It had a short development time, rolling out within four months in 2014 for users. The roll out started with a few basic features but was eventually supplemented by other features already in the original Quantum Global desktop iteration.
Currently, the app is used mainly by the firm’s fundamental fixed-income team based in Denver, but after the merger with Henderson Group in May 2017, Noel says plans are underway to expand its user base to include Henderson team members.
Noel says the app is part of a greater technological change for the asset management industry, a sector that is increasingly turning to innovation to create efficiencies and provide added value to clients. “We’re strong believers that technology will lead the next generation of asset management,” Noel says. “It makes for more informed decisions and insights as well making asset managers more competitive and helping them to stay ahead of the pack.”
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